Podcast #115 with Maneesh Sethi Of Pavlok

Episode 115

Summary:

In Episode #115 Ari sits down with Maneesh Sethi, a self-described victim of severe ADD and the founder of Pavlok, a new, wearable device designed to help people break their bad habits. During their conversation, Maneesh and Ari talk about the technology behind Pavlok, its story from concept to creation and the major benefits of breaking bad habits and increasing productivity.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 21:54 – Introduction of Maneesh Sethi, the founder and creator of the Pavlok
  • 22:23 – Maneesh defines what Pavlok is and how it changes what we do
  • 24:10 – The mammalian brain versus reptilian brain on positive reinforcement
    • 24:34 – The positive enforcer of quitting a negative habit is hard for your mammalian brain to process
    • 27:18 – Biting nails, smoking cigarettes, watching porn, browsing Facebook and head-scratching are some of the most commonly broken bad habits with Pavlok
    • 27:47 – Studies on breaking bad habits, particularly smoking cigarettes
      • 27:54 – Shick Shadel, the Seattle-based treatment facility and their experience with aversion therapy
      • 29:50 – After a year of treatment at Shick Shadel, fewer than half smoked another cigarette again…the best nicotine patches have a 7.5% success rate
      • 31:03 – Pavlok is the first ever self-contained, wearable shock device
      • 32: 07 – Self-administered behavior modification can work, but Pavlok aims to automate it
      • 32:48 – Tim Ferris’ 30-Day No Complaint challenge
      • 34:14 – How can Pavlok promote good habits?
      • 35:25 – Pavlok comes with an API to integrate to other developers programs and apps
      • 36:40 – One of the benefits of Pavlok is that users can intentionally perform the bad habit to prompt Pavlok to shock them and accelerate the habit-breaking process
      • 39:26 – Thinking Fast and Slow
      • 40:30 – “There is no disincentive to anything anymore”
      • 41:55 – Pavlok IndieGoGo campaign is over
      • 43:29 – What are your Top 3 Tips to Being More Effective?
        • 44:07 – Implement a negative reinforcement to force yourself to write down the 3 things you need to do every day
        • 45:21 – Make bets to maximize loss aversion
        • 48:47 – Identify the power of the accountability partner

7 Key Points:

  1. The mammalian brain does not respond as effectively to positive reinforcement as it does to negative reinforcement.
  2. Biting nails, smoking cigarettes and watching porn are some of the most unwanted habits Americans struggle to break.
  3. Self-administered behavior modification can work.
  4. One of the main problems within the modernity of western society is the loss of disincentives.
  5. Make bets with yourself and others to maximize loss-aversion.
  6. Identify someone who can help you be accountable.
  7. Using tools to help you break habits is completely OK.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Fiction and a Better Life – LifeHacker article discussing the psychological benefits of reading fiction
  • Shit Express – A company designed to demonstrate the power of marketing via mailed horseshit
  • Fliplingo – IFTTT for translation…business translation automated
  • Sen.se – The manufacturer of the Mother; a universal monitoring system where the some of the features of Nest meets some of those from FitBit
  • Craigslist Slapper – A habit change strategy where Maneesh Sethi hired a woman to slap him to increase his productivity
  • Gut Microbiome and Autoimmune Disease – Article from ChrisKresser.com discussing the connection between autoimmune disease and gut bacteria
  • Pavlok – A new tool to help people alter and ultimately improve their day-to-day habits
  • Pavlok IndieGoGo – The crowdfunding campaign for the Pavlok
  • Calvin App – A collaborative to-do list for making plans; Those interested in testing the Beta version of Calvin app, please contact nick@calvinapp.com

Credits:

Music and Audio Editing provided by Felix Bird Show Notes provided by Mike Rossi